Your expat relocation package (or your partner’s) might include health care and being lucky enough to live in Singapore means that you have excellent medical assistance on tap. However, we know it can be easy to neglect your health when you are living abroad, for fear of language barriers, protocol and simply not knowing where to go. Health care for women can be a minefield with plenty of doctors offering somewhat conflicting advice. So here are our top tips for taking care of your health in Singapore.
Keep up to date with mammograms
Breast cancer is among the top killers of women and it is one of the most common cancers in women. We all know that we should be examining our own breasts each month, but we should also be going to regular screenings. We cannot stress the importance of a mammogram enough, as they often detect small lumps that cannot be detected by hand. Early detection of problem areas means that treatment can be more targeted and more effective. If you are between 40 and 49, you should be having mammograms on a yearly basis and if you are over 50, your screening should be every two years. Your health insurance might cover these screenings, but just check. If you have to pay, it is well worth the expense for peace of mind. The Singapore Cancer Society will be able to give you more advice on mammograms and the best clinics to be screened at.
Keep up to date with smear tests
The same can be said for smear tests, the equally important but often ignored partner of a mammogram. Cervical cancer is among the top cancers in women and it is notoriously difficult to detect, due to it’s similarity in symptoms to PMS, the menopause and even polycystic ovary syndrome. Smear tests, whilst invasive, should not be painful and at the most, slightly uncomfortable. Tests detect any changes in the cells of the cervix, which may lead to cancer. Once changes are detected and treated, the risk of cancer developing are extremely small. It is recommended that you have a smear test every 1-3 years. If you book a test at IMC Healthcare, they will also be able to test for HPV. This virus is the most common cause of all cervical cancers and is very common in most women. Usually, the virus disappears by itself but in some cases, it can remain and cause pre-cancerous conditions. Unfortunately, these tests are often not covered by healthcare packages and can be quite expensive, but it is worth looking into.
Keep an eye on your vaccinations
It is easy to forget that vaccinations have a time limit and that after a period of ten years, we are likely to need a booster. Bear in mind that despite the excellent public health system in Singapore, it is more than likely that you will be travelling around Asia at some point. It can be very easy to rest on our laurels and decide that a vaccination is not necessary, but prevention is better than cure so book an appointment with your doctor at least 6 weeks before your journey. They will be able to advise you properly, as well as giving you advice on common travel ailments in your destination. Usually, this can be covered by topping up your health insurance, or if you have booked travel insurance, your vaccinations may be covered with an add-on. The Traveller’s Health and Vaccination Clinic offer all kinds of vaccinations and travel advice.